About Dr Robert W Harelson Substance Abuse Professional

I have been conducting DOT and Non-DOT substance abuse evaluations for over 20 years, I have provided evaluations for individuals who have received out of state DUI's or have out of state criminal issues.

California Nursing Board Alcohol/Drug Violations

When there is a pre-licensure substance abuse violation the Board’s position is that it needs to act to protect the public from a potentially impaired nurse. The action begins at the point the individual files the application to obtain a Registered Nurse License. The Board denies the application due to the history of substance abuse issues. The Attorney General’s office is alerted to the fact that the applicant has violations and files a legal document titled “Statement of Issues”. This document recites the violations that led to the denial. The next step in the process is a hearing but typically the applicant enters a stipulated settlement negotiated with the attorney general’s office. The settlement agreement states the following, “Upon successful completion of the licensure examination and all other licensing requirements, a license shall be issued to the individual. Said license shall immediately be revoked, the order of revocation stayed, and the individual shall be placed on probation for a period of three (3) years.”

Railroad Testing Rules MOW

Maintenance of Way (MOW) Drug Testing Rules


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is going to require subcontractors who perform Maintenance of Way (MOW) functions to comply with the U S Department of Transportation (DOT) Drug and Alcohol Rules. The date the compliance will begin is June 12, 2017.


The DOT rules will require MOW employees to be tested at a random rate of 50% for drugs 25% for alcohol. Pre-employment testing will be required for any new employees after June 12, 2017 and current employees will not be required to take a pre-employment test.


MOW sub-contractors will need to become aware of the U. S. DOT rules governing alcohol and drug testing. The following are situations that require testing: (1) pre-employment, (2) random testing necessary to comply with prescribed rates, (3) reasonable suspicion testing, (4) post-accident testing, (5) random follow-up testing.


Each employer will need to have a designated employee representative (DER). This individual will maintain the records of employee testing, violations and substance abuse evaluations. This function can be carried out by a third-party administrator (TPA). Employees who fail the drug and alcohol testing must be referred to a substance abuse professional (SAP). The SAP will conduct an evaluation and determine when the employee can return to safety sensitive duty and what follow-up testing will be required.


There is considerable confusion about these new alcohol and drug testing rules. The best way to get clarification is to contact a substance abuse professional who can advise you on the proper procedures.

The U.S. Department of Transportation does conduct field audits and will levy fines in instances where they find non-compliance.

U.S. Coast Guard Drug and Alcohol Violations

When an individual tests positive for drugs or alcohol the Coast Guard files a complaint which must be responded to in 20 days. The individual has the choice of a hearing or he can enter into a settlement agreement. At his time the individuals Coast Guard issued credentials are revoked until the matter is resolved. The individual must then submit to a substance abuse evaluation (SAE) and comply with the recommendations. The SAE must be conducted by a DOT approved evaluator. After the SAE process the individual must complete 12 random drug tests and attend at least 2 AA/A meeting a month for twelve months. The final step is obtaining a MRO report stating that the individual is drug free and eligible to return to work.

Substance Abuse Professional

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has created a regulation (49CFR part 40) which defines the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) as a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug or alcohol regulation. The SAP makes recommendations regarding education, treatment, follow-up testing and after care. To qualify to be a SAP the individual must posses certain credentials, receive specific training and achieve a passing score on a nationally validated test.

Refusing to Submit to a Required D.O.T. Drug Test

A employee who refuses to submit to a required drug test or who receives a verified adulterated or substituted drug test must be immediately removed from performing safety-sensitive functions.The employee may not return to the performance of safety-sensitive duties until the employee successfully completes the return-to-duty process.

D.O.T.Failed Drug Test

substance abuse evaluations

I tested positive so what should I do?Keep in mind that any employer doing a backgound check is likely to discover it. Hire Right has a drug and alcohol data base which has access to most testing labs. It is reported that Hire Right maintains records for 2500 motor carriers. It is important that individuals keep in mind that D.O.T. rules require that employers check with previous employers for drug and alcohol violations. Also keep in mind that employees can be fined for not telling or for falsifying information on an application. For non-DOT employers it is grounds for termination.The best policy is to be honest with your new employer and get a substance abuse evaluation asap.For additional information contact Robert W Harelson PsyD,SAP at http://www.dot-substanceabuseevaluations.com.

What is a medical review officer in a substance testing program?

He or she is a licensed physican who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by a drug testing program to evaluate laboratory test results to assure proper interpretation of those results. The MRO contacts the employee to advise when the test is postive and provides an opportunity for the employee to present a medical explanation.

Substance Abuse Professional-How to Select.

Your employer or prospective employer should have given you the names of SAP’s.In the event you were’nt given names that I would suggest a google search using “DOT Substance Abuse Evaluations” as a search title. DOT SAP’s are the most qualified. The hospital based evaluators and DUI program counselors are not the indivuals who are DOT qualified and they are often conducting screenings for treatment programs.Contact Robert W Harelson PsyD,SAP at http://www.dot-substanceabuseevaluations.com